INITIATIVES to clean up the borough’s streets, parks and air have been on the council’s agenda in recent months. Local Democracy Reporter JOSEPH TIMAN looks at the latest proposal.

A TOTAL of £1.5m is set to be spent by the council to make the borough cleaner and greener.

The money has been earmarked for tree planting, grass-cutting equipment and new litter bins.

The largest share of the investment, £300,000, will be spent on parks where 50 benches and 100 bins could be replaced.

Play areas will be “refreshed” using £200,000 from the pot where alternative funding is unavailable.

A tenth of the money will be spent on tree planting with a further £80,000 going towards wildflower planting at the St Peter’s Way reservations.

The new Conservative administration instructed town hall officers to develop a shortlist of one-off spending options to invest in improving the quality of the environment in Bolton when Cllr David Greenhalgh took over as leader.

He said: “We made a commitment to the electorate that we would begin the clean up of our borough, and improve our green spaces.

“This extra £1.5m of new money that we are prioritising shows the new administration’s commitment to bringing some well deserved pride back into communities, investing in environmental front line delivery, and promoting a green agenda.”

Neighbourhood services staff at the council were told to place emphasis on schemes which would enhance the visual appearance of the town by making it look more attractive, particularly in areas such as gateway routes, parks, open spaces and town centre areas.

They came back with a list of funding options with a recommendation that all initiatives are delivered to meet seasonal service demand and deadlines, according to a report.

The list includes spending £160,000 on promoting environmental campaigns and behaviour change, including hiring a dedicated education officer to work with schools.

It also proposes putting £50,000 towards a “more coordinated approach” to volunteer litter pickers and supporting community groups like Bolton Green Umbrella and Bolton Forum for Greenspace (BFG) with equipment, insurance and staff support.

It is proposed that the £1.5m pot, which will have some money leftover as a contingency is divided as follows:

  • £200,000 - Refurbishment of equipped play areas
  • £300,000 - Park assets and infrastructure improvements
  • £250,000 - Tree planting including wildflower planting
  • £80,000 - Wildflower enhancements in St Peter's Way
  • £110,000 - Grass cutting machinery
  • £80,000 - Route optimisation software
  • £66,000 - Pedestrian electric vacuums
  • £80,000 - Hot water power wash
  • £100,000 - Refresh Love Bolton Hate Litter campaign
  • £40,000 - Youth education officer
  • £20,000 - Focused campaign on illegal and trade waste carriers
  • £20,000 - Environmental voluntary sector

Executive cabinet member for environmental regulatory services, Cllr Adele Warren, said that the investment shows the new administration values environment.

She said: “We will plant trees which will replace previously lost trees in the borough, mitigate against disease risk and plant community orchards. We will also enhance biodiversity by planting wildflowers at gateway sites in the borough and enhance the areas along the A666 to provide maximum visual impact whilst supporting wildlife.

“This will allow us to purchase equipment that will improve frontline services to assist in keeping our town a cleaner place.

“Our parks will also have investment with replacement seating, allowing residents with mobility issues greater access to our fabulous parks in Bolton. We will also invest to support the refurbishment of existing play facilities.

“We will be supporting our fantastic volunteers by promoting enhanced coordination, payment of insurance, purchase of tools and additional specialist staff resources. We will also refresh the Love Bolton Hate Litter campaign and develop an education campaign on illegal waste carriers.”

But Labour spokesman for environmental regulatory services Nick Peel cast doubts over whether the money will tackle flytipping which the Tories recently claimed was at “unprecedented” levels.

He said: “The Conservatives made a big song and dance in the election about environmental improvements but within that they have accepted what they said about fly tipping wasn’t true.

“£1.5m one off money is not going to lead to massive changes. A lot is going on equipment.”

Cllr Peel has also questioned where the money for this additional investment has come from.

Council leader David Greenhalgh told The Bolton News that the “new money” comes from capital receipts.

The cabinet will discuss the proposals at a meeting this afternoon where opposition councillors will have the opportunity to “call in” the decision for further scrutiny.